Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol 136 – 2015

Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Volume 136 - 2015Remarkable archaeological finds, controversy over the latest film version of Far from the Madding Crowd and ‘the world’s biggest bite’ marine reptile exhibit are revealed in the new style annual just published by the Dorset County Museum.

Read about the pliosaur, the Museum’s latest marine reptile fossil exhibit, a fearsome creature which had the largest bite in the world. Experts discuss new film version of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Finds from the excavations at the Durotriges village excavations at Winterbourne Kingston and the major Roman villa excavation at Druce farm are detailed. Plus over twenty other major articles.

“We are really excited about the latest volume which looks great and has lots of fascinating articles,” says Dr Paul Lashmar, the journal’s editor. “These are scholarly papers but we pride ourselves that they are very readable so there is something in every edition to delight the casual reader or visitor to Dorset.”

Weymouth Bay Pliosaur Skull © DCM

Weymouth Bay Pliosaur Skull © DCM

The new volume features original line drawings on the cover that were used to illustrate the Cornhill Magazine serialisation of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd in 1874.

“With its classic yet unique British countryside and a long and enthralling history Dorset is a remarkable county. Home too many great writers and artists Dorset can also boast the best prehistoric landscape in Britain and the geological wonders of the Jurassic Coast. The annual, the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society 2015 celebrates everything that is fascinating and important about Dorset.in the last year,” says Dr Lashmar.

Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

While Dorset inspires many books, papers and articles, only Proceedings publishes with regard to academic scholarship. From its home at the Dorset County Museum Proceedings has published for 136 years a remarkable annual collection of scholarly papers, monographs and reports from a wide range of disciplines in the furtherance of knowledge and understanding.

CONTENTS:

PAPERS

  • What Tess meant to Hardy, and why Keith Wilson
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) Directed By Thomas Vinterberg. A review Paul J. Niemeyer
  • How to get a head in Dorset County Museum: The tailless tale of Pliosaurus kevani Jenny Cripps
  • The environmental quality of the Sherford River (Dorset) assessed with macroinvertebrate data – Patrick D. Armitage, J.A.B. Bass & Adrianna Hawczak
  • Underwater light-trapping of mobile invertebrates in the Fleet lagoon, Dorset – Nina Wills, J. A. B. Bass & J. I. Jones
  • ‘Gone for a Burton’: Thomas Arthur Burton (1842-1936), musician & composer, and his family (from Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Cotswolds, Hampshire & Dorset) – Hugh S. Torrens
  • Mrs Alicia Moore, dedicatee of Henry Rowland Brown’s 1859 guidebook Beauties of Lyme Regis – Michael A. Taylor
  • A token found at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, apparently associated with Mary Anning (1799–1847), fossil collector – Michael A. Taylor & Richard Bull
  • The Dorset Hundreds from the early nineteenth century – J. W. Hart

ARCHAEOLOGY

  • Dorset Archaeology in 2014
  • Portable Antiquities Scheme 2014 – Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen
  • Preston: Bowleaze Cove Romano-British building – Iain Hewitt And Grace Jones
  • Observations at Church Street, Christchurch – Michael Heaton with a contribution from Professor Malcolm Thurlby
  • Interim Report: Druce Farm Roman villa, Puddletown – Lilian Ladle And Andrew Morgan
  • Excavation of a Romano-British well at Farnham – Martin Green, Mark Maltby & Rob Perrin
  • Mortlake and Grooved Ware pottery associated with worked stone in a pit at Lambert’s Hill, Winterbourne Abbas, Dorset – Richard Tabor, With A Contribution By Cheryl Green
  • The Old Manor, Stratton – Rosemary Maw
  • The Thompson’s clay canal – A clay-working enterprise near Lytchett Bay, Poole in the 1830s – Bryan Gambier, Alan Hawkins And Keith Jarvis
  • Witchampton chess pieces – Gill Vickery
  • The Durotriges Project, Phase Two: an interim statement Miles Russell, Paul Cheetham, Damian Evans,Karina Gerdau-Radonic, Ellen Hambleton, Iain Hewitt, Harry Manley, Nivien Speith and Martin Smith
  • The Development of Properties inside the southern defences of Roman Durnovaria: an excavation at Charles Street, Dorchester – Andrew B. Powell with Contributions From Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy, Rachael Seager Smith & J.M. Mills

Proceedings are available from the Museum Shop Price £20.00. However if you become a member of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeology Society the price is £15.00. For more details about membership contact the the membership secretary on 01305 756829 or visit the website for more details www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

For further information and enquires about the Proceedings contact the editor Dr. Paul Lashmar on 01305 262735

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Local schools visit Druce Farm Roman Villa

Children excavating on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

Children excavating on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

During the summer of 2015, more than 166 primary school children plus 24 teaching staff visited Dorset’s new Roman villa at Druce Farm near Puddletown. The East Dorset Antiquarian Society (EDAS), led by Site Director Lilian Ladle, is into its fourth and final year exploring the site. Both EDAS and the landowners, Tom and Ann Ridout, believed this was the perfect opportunity to share the villa with the community and encourage our archaeologists of the future.

 

Discovering Roman Tiling © EDAS 2015

Discovering Roman Tiling © EDAS 2015

Sue Cullinane from EDAS devised a special programme for schools including an introductory talk, a guided tour of the excavations, a chance to examine some of the recent artefacts found, and an opportunity to undertake practical activities including “finds” washing and trowelling in newly-opened trenches. Sue worked closely with Emma Talbot, the Education Officer of Dorset County Museum, to organise the visits and she also designed display boards and the finds cabinet. During 2015, there were visits from Yeovil Park School, Weymouth Home Educators, Swanage St. Mary’s Primary, Piddle Valley Primary and the Yeovil Home Educators. In addition members of the Dorset County Museum branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) attended a short field school.

Children washing finds on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

Children washing finds on the site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2015

All the young guests were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the experience. The teachers were delighted that EDAS has been able to offer this unique opportunity to pupils to visit a real archaeology site and experience practical archaeology.

EDAS would like to thank the volunteers: Sue Cullinane, Bryan Popple, Geoff Taylor, Barbara Milburn, Pam Norris and Anita Hicks who made the on-site activities both informative and enjoyable – as well as all the teachers who enthusiastically supported this opportunity. Special thanks to all the young people who made this such a rewarding experience for everyone.

Andrew Morgan
EDAS Chairman


There is a chance to visit Druce Farm Roman Villa Excavation on a special ‘Open Day‘ on Saturday 5th September from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Entry to the site is FREE, but a donation of £3.00 is suggested, to help towards the publication of this important site

For more details details please visit: www.dorset-archaeology.org.uk

N.B Please note that there is a one mile walk from the car park and there are no toilet facilities. The excavation is on a working farm, SORRY, NO DOGS ALLOWED

Visit to Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa

On the Friday 3rd July at  6.30 pm there will be a last chance to see final season of excavation at this amazingly well-preserved Roman villa, where three large ranges of buildings are set within a courtyard enclosure. High-class finds suggest wealthy owners living here from the 1st century AD and who continued to inhabit the site for several centuries after the Romans left Britain.

Driving instructions below. There is ample parking in the meadow however the site is a good 20 minute walk from the car park. Stout shoes are recommended and be aware that the site itself is very uneven due to the excavations.

Meet in the car parking meadow at 6.30 pm for the walk up to the site

We will ask for voluntary donations to the excavation to help fund full academic publication

This is a working farm and the land owner asks that visitors leave their dogs at home (Sorry!)


How to get there: –

  • From Dorchester
    Follow the A35 East towards Bere Regis/ Poole/Bournemouth for about 3.9 miles,
    Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford/Milborne St Andrew/Piddlehinton,
    At the roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142,
  • From Poole
    Follow the A35 West towards Bere Regis/ Puddletown/Dorchester for 1.1 miles,
    Continue on through one roundabout on the A35 for about 9.3 miles,
    At next roundabout take 2nd exit and continue along the A35 for 6 miles,
    Take the exit signposted A354/B3142 to Blandford, Piddlehinton, Puddletown,
    At the roundabout take the 3rd exit on to the A354,

At the next roundabout take the 1st exit on to the B3142, After about 1 mile turn right just before a sharp left bend (there is a triangle of grass at junction, Note that there is also a lane which you have to cross before entering farms driveway) and Druce Farm is directly ahead.

Drive through the gateway (Druce Farmhouse is on your right), then pass some large Victorian cottages, pass the cart shed on your left, follow the farm track with a modern cottage on your right. The track forks – take the left hand track and you will see several cars in the field.

Drive carefully – Be aware that small children may be playing around the houses and that farm machinery may be about

Archaeology Gallery at Dorset County Museum being redeveloped in spring 2015

Dorset County Museum Archaeology GalleryThe Archaeology Gallery at Dorset County Museum is currently being redeveloped as part of a £250,000 project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership (AONB).

Upon its completion in autumn 2015 the new gallery will become the visitor centre for the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership. Ultimately it will link in with information panels to be displayed along the ridgeway itself helping visitors explore the AONB and understand the sites that can be seen there today.

“This is a very special project for us,” said Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum. “The archaeology of Dorset is the history of over 10,000 years of human habitation in the county – our collections are nationally significant and cover the entire period from paleolithic times to Saxon and Viking Dorset.”

When the new Ancient Dorset Gallery (the new name for the former Archaeology Gallery) opens at the Museum, the centrepiece will be a special display of the Viking skeletons found during the construction of the Weymouth Relief Road in 2009.

Jadeite Axe

Jadeite Axe © DCM

During the initial work (December to March 2014) the existing gallery will be open but artefacts from some display cases will be removed for conservation. Other key objects will be redisplayed in the museum during this time.

The design of the new gallery will ensure that when work starts on the Museum’s planned Collection Discovery Centre, the improved displays will be moved into the new extension at minimum cost.

While the work is being undertaken, visitors will be able to enjoy a special spotlight loan from the British Museum of three jadeite axes and some mace heads from their own collection. Dorset County Museum’s own jadeite axe will be displayed alongside these loans.

For further information visit www.dorsetcountymuseum.org. Dorset County Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Young Archaeologists Explore Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa Mosaic © EDAS 2014

Druce Farm Roman Villa Mosaic © EDAS 2014

This summer the East Dorset Antiquarian Society (EDAS) has enabled over 100 children to experience real archaeology. Led by Site Director Lilian Ladle, the society is into its third year exploring the Roman Villa at Druce Farm near Puddletown. With the support of the landowners, Tom and Ann Ridout, EDAS decided it was the perfect opportunity to encourage young people who are interested in archaeology and their heritage.

Members of the Dorset County Museum's Young Archaeologists’ Club clean finds discovered at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

Members of the Dorset County Museum’s Young Archaeologists’ Club clean finds discovered at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

Working with Nicola Berry, the Education Officer of Dorset County Museum, schools throughout Dorset were contacted about this opportunity. Several were able to visit, including: St Andrew’s Primary School Yetminster, The Swanage School, Poole High School, Thomas Hardye School, Bryanston School, The Gryphon School Sherborne and Poole Grammar School. In addition members of the Dorset County Museum branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) and a group from the seeUNT Home Education Group, based in Beaminster, were also able to visit the site.

Members of the Dorset County Museum's Young Archaeologists’ Club on site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

Members of the Dorset County Museum’s Young Archaeologists’ Club on site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

The visit comprised a guided tour of the site and a talk describing some of the most important artefacts found so far. This was followed by practical archaeology; finds washing, which is the first of the post-excavation processes, and trowelling when the pupils were able to work in newly opened trenches. One of the most memorable days was when 23 perfectly behaved children from St Andrew’s Primary School, Yetminster, descended with great energy and enthusiasm and they finished their visit by finding real Roman artefacts in a recently opened trench.

All the young guests were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the experience. The teachers were delighted that EDAS had been able to offer this unique opportunity to visit a real archaeology site. They were thrilled that their pupils were able to experience practical archaeology. Some of the older pupils have stated they want to return during the summer holidays.

EDAS would like to thank Nicola Berry who liaised with the schools, all the volunteers, especially Sue Cullinane, Bryan Popple, Geoff Taylor and Barbara Milburn who arranged the on-site activities, and not forgetting the teachers who enthusiastically supported this opportunity. Special thanks to all the young people who made this such a rewarding experience for everyone.

Andrew Morgan
EDAS Chairman


There is a chance to visit Druce Farm Roman Villa Excavation on a special ‘Open Day‘ on Saturday 27th September from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Entry to the site is FREE, but a donation of £3.00 is suggested, to help towards the publication of this important site

For more details details please visit: www.dorset-archaeology.org.uk

N.B Please note that there is a one mile walk from the car park and there are no toilet facilities. The excavation is on a working farm, SORRY, NO DOGS ALLOWED

Roman Mosaics

The Dorset County Museum has twelve mosaics on display from the Roman period, mostly fragments. Many are from Durnovaria, Roman Dorchester. The study of these fragments and the many others found in the County identify some as the Durnovarian school of mosaicists who provided a rich variety of designs for pavements constructed throughout the Fourth Century A.D. These designs are noted for their use of sea beasts, gods, goddesses and other ornament. None are identical.

In the entrance doorway of the museum is a mosaic made up in 1908 with tesserae from the surround of a pavement found behind 45 South Street, Dorchester, during building operations in 1905. In the entrance passage is a fragment of the geometric mosaic found beneath the pavement showing the sea creature theasos, found at Dewlish.

Mosaic found in Dewlish in 1975

Mosaic found in Dewlish in 1975 © DCM

On the wall above the reception desk to the right is a fragment from a mosaic depicting a sea creature procession or theasos, found at Dewlish during the excavations of 1975.

To the right of the Durngate Street pavement and under the staircase to the gallery is a complete mosaic from a plunge bath excavated on the site of the Romano-British villa at Hemsworth. It was presented to the museum by the executors of Lord Aliington in 1905.

Mosaic pavement found in Durngate Street, Dorchester in 1905. The Durngate Street pavement is one of the few in Britain which bear a signature; in this case a 'fruit and leaf motif. © DCM

Mosaic pavement found in Durngate Street, Dorchester in 1905. The Durngate Street pavement is one of the few in Britain which bear a signature; in this case a ‘fruit and leaf motif. © DCM

Through the doorway into the museum’s Victorian Gallery is a pavement from Durngate Street, Dorchester, found and removed to the museum in July 1905 and laid to be walked upon as part of the building. A typical example of the Durnovarian School, the crested serpents and the leaves form an obvious link with that from Hinton St. Mary, at present in store in the British Museum.

By the side of the main staircase is a portion of a mosaic found near South Street, Dorchester in 1894. It was the first mosaic to be placed on display in the museum. It was presented by Mr. Alfred Pope in 1895.

Roman masterpieces in Dorset

This mosaic pavement discovered at Olga Road, Dorchester in 1899 © DCM

This mosaic pavement discovered at Olga Road, Dorchester in 1899 © DCM

The other mosaic in the museums’s  Victorian Gallery is from Olga Road, Dorchester, found in 1899 and presented to the Museum by Mr. Alfred Pope in 1900. It was taken up and re-laid by subscription. This design contrasts with that from Durngate Street and has similarities with mosaics at Corinium, Roman Cirencester.

To the left of the Olga Road pavement is the doorway into the museums’s Temporary Exhibition Gallery where the polychrome mosaic from Fordington High Street, Dorchester is displayed. This mosaic also has similarities with those in Corinium and possibly dates from the Second Century A.D. It was found in October 1927 and presented by Messrs. T. J. Walne and O. C. Vidler when it was taken up and relaid to walk upon as part of the building.

This decorative mosaic found in Fordington, High Street, 1927 . Shows what may be the image of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune surrounded by fish and dolphins © DCM

This decorative mosaic found in Fordington, High Street, Dorchester, 1927 . Shows what may be the image of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune surrounded by fish and dolphins © DCM

There is a repair made in antiquity to the three strand guilloche around one of the circles containing a stylised flower and there are the remains – six red tessarae – of a figure which once occupied the central octagon.

Upstairs from the Temporary Exhibition Gallery is the Archaeological Gallery: Victim of Time, where there are three further fragments of mosaic on display.

In the Roman section there is a fragment of guilloche and stylised flower border presented in 1899 by the Directors of the Devon & Cornwall Bank (now the National Westminster Bank), Dorchester. It was found when building operations were underway for the new Bank.

The, Dorchester Prison mosaic, 4th Century. A tinted photographic lithograph. John Pouncy, 2nd December 1858. Using one of his new experimental photographic processes. This mosaic was presented to the Dorset County Museum by the Governor of Dorchester Prison in 1885, after its removal from the Prison chapel where it had been relaid in 1858. It was set on the north wall of the museum staircase masked by the overhanging portrait of James John Farquharson, 1857.

The, Dorchester Prison Mosaic, 4th Century. A tinted photographic lithograph. John Pouncy, 2nd December 1858. Using one of his new experimental photographic processes. This mosaic was presented to the Dorset County Museum by the Governor of Dorchester Prison in 1885, after its removal from the Prison chapel where it had been relaid in 1858. It was set on the north wall of the museum staircase masked by the overhanging portrait of James John Farquharson, 1857. © DCM

Also in the Conservation section there is a mosaic roundel depicting Oceanus or Neptune, which once formed the centre of a pavement found during the excavation of the Romano-British villa at Hemsworth in 1831. The pavement was lifted in 1908 and presented by the executors of Lord Allington in 1929. The identifying features on the head of this sea god are crab legs and two crab claws on the forehead.

Half way up the main staircase and at the first landing – and temporarily covered by a large oil painting – is a geometric mosaic, found in the County Prison burial ground whilst digging a grave for James Seal who was executed for murder on August 10th 1858, when it was taken up and presented to the Museum.

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